If the BN is judged obsolete and irrelevant to present-day Malaysia, it will not be the fault of the Opposition or the rakyat, but its own fault for deciding to follow the dinosaurs, writes Rakyat Jelata.
Since 2007, the manner in which the BN administration has been going, has in some instances been an imitation of the autocratic military junta in Burma.
Now that the military junta appears to be taking steps to improve its international image, by appeasing the critics in the international community, the ruling party in Malaysia seems to have decided to follow the former path of the Burmese junta.
The Umno-led Barisan Nasional feels that cutting the rights and freedoms of Malaysians and ignoring the country’s Federal Constitution is the thing to do to keep itself from becoming irrelevant and obsolete.
Burma seems to be attempting to emerge from its isolation within a time warp that thrusts a majority of its population into abject poverty, living in conditions hundreds of years old, under a tyranny of similar age. Despite the exhibition of the junta’s efforts to bring the country into the 21st century, opening some avenues for apparent democratic governance, vestiges of tyranny and repression still haunt the process.
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Malaysia, in contrast, started off as an apparently democratic state, but has over the years since 1969, failed to maintain its democratic political structure. Democracy in Malaysia has deteriorated, with the BN regime slowly mutating to resemble the Burmese junta, whether or not the PM denies it.
Whilst grandly announcing to the world the government’s intentions to repeal draconian laws like the draconian Internal Security Act and the Emergency Ordinance, and amending the process of licensing of publications under the equally abusive Printing Presses and Publications Act, it has figuratively cut off one hand with the chopper in the other. For one thing, these grand pledges to honour the basic human and constitutional rights of citizens have not yet been fulfilled and remain up in the clouds.
The BN has come out with extra laws to reduce the personal rights and freedoms of citizens and place increased powers in the hands of the police. Explicit expression of its obsession with alleged threats to national security characterise its latest brainchild – The Peaceful Assembly Act 2011.
The effect of this law is to encourage “dumb” assemblies, not democratic assemblies. In the light of these repressive laws, the Federal Constitution might as well be mothballed, as it is often ignored and is of no use in safeguarding the fundamental rights of the rakyat.
As the BN continues on its way to the dinosaur era, the rakyat continue to realise that they need to move forward towards democracy. The rakyat are aware that a just and equitable multiracial Malaysian society on par with rest of the democratic world is increasingly important for our progress and development. The obsession with power and entrenchment of a one-party dictatorship is passé and obsolete.
Will Umno and the rest of the BN herd ever realise how passé (outdated) it is to behave like the emperors and absolute monarchs of old? When will they realise they have to give way to the inevitable and fast-approaching tide of change and increased awareness of human rights leading to a higher level of democracy? Democracy and justice don’t dwell in form but in fact.
If the BN is judged obsolete and irrelevant to present-day Malaysia, it will not be the fault of the Opposition or the rakyat, but its own fault for deciding to follow the dinosaurs!
Rakyat Jelata is the pseudonym of a concerned Malaysian.